Niagara River Recreational Trail Number of times on this trail:
2-3 times annually Location:
Niagara River from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario Distance: 57 km Distance markers
: no Surface:
asphalt and concrete Grade
: Flat with two steep hills Conditions of trail:
Read my other Blog on the 140 km long Greater Niagara Circle Tour and on the Welland Canal Trail
The Niagara River Recreational Trail, at 57 km, is the longest trail in the Greater Niagara Circle Trail. It connects the towns of Fort Erie
and passes through Niagara Falls
This description will follow the trail North
from Fort Erie through Niagara Falls and to Niagara on the Lake.
A good place to park in Fort Erie is to head for OLD FORT ERIE
at 350 Lakeshore Road. There is admission to view the exhibits, but it is free to use the washrooms and get ice cream. There are parking areas along the waterfront, which looks across to Buffalo.
You can also access this trail along MANY spots along the Niagara Parkway.
Follow the trail (with Lake Erie on your right
) and pass under the Peace Bridge
. Around here the trail disappears and you must use Niagara Boulevard
or the sidewalk. There are many restaurants facing the river as you head north.
Once you get out of Fort Erie, it is a nice peaceful ride with the slow-moving Niagara River
on your right and lots of parklands. The only commercial establishments are a marina (seasonal) where you can use washrooms and get ice cream, a seasonal restaurant and a small hotel/campground!
Around 15 km from Fort Erie is the Lighthouse Restaurant
right on the trail.
The approximate halfway point to Niagara Falls is at NETHERBY ROAD
at which point you will have travelled 16 km and it is another 15 to Niagara Falls. At Netherby Road there is a large parking area and boat launch. Also ahead is the Riverside motel & campground and Missionaries of the Precious Blood
where you will likely see some horses in a large corral beside the trail
From here to Chippewa
there are some very large and beautiful homes on your left.
The Niagara River continues its slow flow towards the falls and beside the river, there are many rest stops with picnic tables (but no washrooms.)
Seven kilometres ahead is the entrance to Legends of Niagara Golf
. The entrance is on the trail, but the actual restaurant and lounge (open to the public) is more than a km in.
Approximately 1.5 km ahead is the Chippewa battlefield
, a place of historical significance. There are flags, a memorial and signs but nothing else (no tables no washrooms.)
Shortly after the battlefield the trail crosses the road and goes up over a bridge. On the other side is Kingsbridge Park
. If you look to your left and off the trail, there will be some large buildings. One of them is a washroom!
The trail continues for a short distance and you will find yourself just above the falls, where you can see the spray (and sometimes a rainbow.)
Part of the way downhill, stop and cross the road to Dufferin Islands Park
. This is a scenic area with tables, paths, washrooms,
ponds and streams. Stay on the road
and it brings you back to the main road.
Distance travelled so far, is approximately 32 km
. I won't go into descriptions of the falls. Any time of year it is busy and you might have to walk your bike. The sidewalk is very busy and the road is also busy. As you travel towards the Rainbow Bridge
, you will be on the road, with some sidewalk available and soon there will be a shoulder on the road for cyclists.
At the Whirlpool aero car
, the bike path starts again. From here to Queenston Heights
the trail follows the Niagara Gorge and Niagara Parkway. There are many tourist sites along the way, but the trail is separate from any human or auto traffic.
Stop off at Queenston Heights
, explore and use the bathrooms
. There is a long downhill (Niagara escarpment
.) Stay on the road and the trail starts up again in about 1 km. From Queenston Heights to MCFarland House
it is 10 km. Trail follows the Niagara Gorge and many wineries will be on your left. At McFarland House, there is a large park with tables and washrooms
About a km further on the trail officially becomes the Waterfront Trail.
You likely won't see a sign to that effect as the trail just continues as before!! And as you cross the Niagara Parkway you will ride beside historic Old Fort George
. Niagara on the Lake
is a very touristy town and touring it on a bike is the best way. Distance from Queenston Heights is about 11 km and from Old Fort Erie it is about 55 km.
See also my blog on the Welland Canals Trail and the Greater Niagara Recreational Trail
More Photos below .....
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